IPL 2018, Eliminator: 3 Masterstrokes from the KKR vs RR game
The Eliminator was played between Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata. The two teams that really played like a team and not just depended on one or two players in the league stage. The KKR being the winners will now play against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Qualifier 2 match to seal a place in the finals to be played on 27th May in Wankhade Stadium, Mumbai.
The Rajasthan Royals captain Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and elected to field first. With the chasing team winning 71% of the time and 51% chance of rain playing spoilsport, it was the sensible option.
KKR had a disastrous start as they lost Sunil Narine, the batsman with the highest strike rate in this IPL season on the very second ball of the innings. Robin Uthappa and Nitish Rana soon followed him to the dressing room and KKR were stranded at 24/3 in a high-pressure game. Then Dinesh Karthik came to the rescue and strung good partnerships, first with Shubman Gill and then with Andre Russell to take the team to a respectable score of 169.
Contrary to the start of KKR, Rajasthan had a great opening partnership between Tripathi and Rahane and scored 51 runs in the power play with the loss of one wicket. Now it was the responsibility of the skipper and the young sensation Sanju Samson to take the team home and they were very much on course to do so but Kuldeep Yadav took the wicket of Rahane in the 15th over with 61 runs still left. After the captain's wicket, the required run rate kept increasing and in the end, Rajasthan fell short by 25 runs.
#1 Archer given the task to break the partnership
KKR had lost 4 wickets before 8 overs. However, Karthik and Gill built a crucial partnership to bring their team back into the game. Both were in great touch and were scoring runs at a good pace.
Just when the partnership looked dangerous from Rajasthan's point of view, Rahane entrusted the responsibility of breaking the partnership to Jofra Archer, who has a reputation of taking wickets. Archer made his captain proud by taking the wickets of Shubman Gill and applied the brakes on the KKR runs scoring.